Age-specific tips for preventing cancer
The MD Anderson Cancer Centre has published some suggested guidelines of ways women of any age group can prevent cancer. While specific to women, this info is appropriate for people of all ages and genders and it’s worth your while to pay a little more attention now to avoid getting cancer when you’re “supposed” to.
We say life is different when you’re a young adult, cancer is too. That means you need to take care of your body differently as well.
The MD Anderson Cancer Centre says, “Just as you set personal and work-related milestones, you also should set health goals for every stage of life.”
In your 20s:
Avoid exposure to HPV. The human papillomavirus, or HPV, is most common among young women in their late teens and early 20s. High-risk strains of HPV are present in more than 99 per cent of cervical cancer cases.
Your best bet to reduce the risk of HPV infection is to get the HPV vaccine if you’re younger than 26 and practice protected sex, even oral. There have been links between certain throat and tounge cancers and oral sex, not to mention the risk of other STIs.
Protect yourself against skin cancer by staying away from tanning salons. You can increase your risk of getting skin cancer by 75 per cent if you use tanning beds regularly in your teens and 20s.
Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer and it accounts for about 1,000 deaths each year in Canada, most of which are men. If you don’t frequent the solarium, still avoid direct exposure to the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and routinely use sunscreen when you’re outdoors
Your exam schedule:
- Clinical breast exam every one to three years to check for breast cancer (the more regularly you do it, the more likely you are to catch it early!)
- Liquid-based Pap test every two years to check for cervical cancer, starting at age 21
In your 30s:
Stay strong. You start losing muscle mass after you turn 30. “Strength training can prevent muscle loss, build bone density and increase the rate at which your body burns calories, to keep you at a healthy weight. Maintaining a healthy weight can help you avoid diseases like cancer.”
Relax, don’t do it. Your entire body is affected when you’re stressed and doesn’t function normally (no, a constant state of stress doesn’t constitute normal). It has a harder time fighting off things like cancer when there are other things on the mind to take care of first.
Your exam schedule:
- Clinical breast exam every one to three years to check for breast cancer
- Liquid-based Pap test and HPV test every three years to check for cervical cancer
MD Anderson – Age-proof your health
MD Anderson – Screening exams by age